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Počitelj, wonder of stone on the Neretva River

Počitelj, wonder of stone on the Neretva River

Just a little over a year has passed from two anniversaries that symbolize the painful reappropriation of an identity of tolerance and integration among peoples: 25 years of independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Yugoslav Federation and the 135 years since the birth of the most illustrious Balkan writer, Ivo Andrić. These two anniversaries cross Počitelj, port of the new state of Bosnia, mingling of peoples, sentinel over the River Neretva, place of art and artists. After 25 years from the siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina try to live a normal life, although torn from the wounds of the memory and the economic crisis.

The second occurrence that leads us to Počitelj are the 135 years since the birth of Ivo Andrić. In 1945 he published the bridge on the Drina, where he told the rivalry between ethnic groups and religions, mitigated by the historic river bridge; in 1961 he was awarded the Nobel Prize. After the Nobel Andrić, expressed the desire that the "city of stone", as defined Počitelj became seat of an artistic experiment. Also supported by the Yugoslavian government saw as if born in the artistic colony Statale di Pocitelj. A growing international community of painters, sculptors, writers and musicians found there, since then, inspiration, contaminating each other. In this Borgo Vittorio Honey painted Ottoman houses in intense pastels, Safet Zec there he opened a home-studio where he taught the "poetic realism", Ivo Andrić devoted him a novella posthumous output.

Počitelj belongs to the municipality of Čapljina, in the canton of the Erzegovina-Neretva. The urban structure is sober, dimension is contained: a quadrilateral transverse maybe six hectares; a hill degrading, hanging like a sheet with two projecting rocks; fifty scattered houses, interspersed by trees and terraced gardens; a perimeter mileage walls demolished, lowered, superseded by the buildings; two ruined castles on the opposite slopes. Yet Počitelj enchants from afar.

Why is the tangible encounter of two ancient architectural civilization, fused for over 500 years, in a wonderful and rare balance. The Balkan medieval-characterizes the impending fortified city, with the residual walls that climb up the hill from both sides up to the towers of the rearguard and hidden top walkway. The Turkish civilisation imperial-brand the shapes of the urban structure, built around the monumental mosque of Shishman Ibrahim Pasha of 1562, and spectacularly surrounded by public buildings civil and religious: medresa (Koranic School) in high, imaret (public kitchen), haman (public bath), Han (caravanserai) down. Here the civil buildings joined the Moorish style to materials and techniques of the area.

Inserted from 2007 in the UNESCO "tentative list", Počitelj is awaiting recognition of world heritage of humanity. As soon as you park in the cobbled square, surrounded by cafes and restaurants, we realize that the city is oriented toward the river that flows over the road. Impact is attracted as a magnet from the fascinating trinity of architectures that soar in the sky. From left to right: the medieval tower of Gavran-Kapetanovic, fulcrum of the formwork, loved by its inhabitants as protector of the place; the tapered central and the minaret of the mosque; the elegant clock tower where it meets the mediterranean style with the functionality of the muslim recall to prayer. It rises at the center for two parallel streets paved, encountering left the domes of the medresa. The surrounding houses are made of stone on two floors, the most important with the second protrusion and inserts into the wood. Among them stands out on the right the Governor's house, the same Gavran-Kapetanovic, still today the seat of the community of artists, riattivatasi after the war. The mosque is adjacent. You enter in the panoramic courtyard as a museum animated by guides, faithful, hawkers around beautiful portico. After reconstruction, many original remains, such as the capitals and decorations, are on show in an angular area. Now represent a vision of estrangement.

ph. Tiziana Tedeschi